I’m going to start the day by taking Lalo Alcaraz (AMS) to task, though only on a linguistic point.
“Misinformation” and “dysinformation” are separate things entirely. Misinformation is an innocent mistake. Dysinformation is purposeful, both in the sense of “deliberate” and in the sense of having a goal.
A simple error: Alcaraz is not so naive as to believe that the false facts spread by rightwing media are inadvertent.
I like Stuart Carlson (AMS)’s take on the flood of books in which Trump insiders spill their guts, either through leaking to other authors or directly, with Kellyanne Conway’s upcoming memoir apparently upsetting the loyalists most at the moment.
Note that Carlson doesn’t say “don’t read them.” He just points out that you probably shouldn’t be all that surprised by anything in them. Trump himself liked to recite the poem about a snake which, once sheltered in a woman’s bosom, bites her, killing her, and saying, “You knew I was a snake when you took me in.”
Which we did. Or should have.
Carlson suggests that the details are more depressing than we thought, and I’d agree, mostly by going back to the point made the other day of the difference between intentional and unintentional evil. Finding out that it was all intentional is both comforting and depressing at once, given that it allows us to confirm our suspicions but, then again, confirms how much trouble we’re still in.
“They knew all along” is kind of a bummer. A bigger bummer is that the people who most need to hear this will not, and, to the extent that they stumble onto it, will call it dysinformation.
Andy Marlette (Creators) has a bit of fun at the expense of the liars who whip up imaginary crises while ignoring the real ones, and one important thing we should remember about the few editorial cartoonists still employed by newspapers is that, while Trump supporters won’t visit the online places Marlette can be found, this cartoon will appear on breakfast tables in Pensacola.
And I believe mockery is more powerful in such times than attempting rational debate with irrational people.
Similarly, Steve Sack‘s commentary on the current King of Dysinformation will be found in the pages of the Star-Tribune, in both Minneapolis and across the river in St. Paul.
As Jefferson famously said of the importance of newspapers
(W)ere it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
That latter assumed that distribution and literacy were the chief barriers to having well-informed voters, which may be why conservatives seek to regulate both social media and what is taught in classrooms.
In any case, it’s puzzling that Trump’s bluecollar followers put such faith in a smug, smarmy prep-school wiseass, though I suppose the fact that they voted one into office should remove some of that shock.
The lies this hypocrite spreads may actually kill people who believe him, but it won’t matter to the survivors.
In “Animal Farm,” the victims were being misled by dishonest, self-serving pigs.
We had assumed it was a metaphor.
Meanwhile, over on the funny pages, we find a story arc on Sherman’s Lagoon (KFS) turning from the whimsy with which it began into an echo of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, in which the people in a small town gradually transform into rhinoceroses, an absurdist depiction based on Ionesco’s experience in his native Romania in the 1930s:
The play itself is overlong and almost never produced without significant cuts, but a 1974 attempt to make it into a movie failed to capture the fear and dread behind the absurdist premise, despite — or perhaps because of — the presence of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. The premise is silly, but must be presented as chilling.
Which it is, when it’s really happening.
I’m unsure where the current arc in Edison Lee (KFS) — which began with Edison and his grandfather being towed out to sea by dolphins — is going, but today’s episode fits nicely with Sherman’s Lagoon in suggesting a much more optimistic and pleasant movie, 1966’s The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, a heart-warming declaration that we’re all human, after all.
It’s a wonderful combination of suspense, fear and hilarity, and I’ll add that my personal encounters with Russians and other soviet citizens were a lot of fun, though always spiced with a sense of their having grown up in a far different world than mine, and not simply because of our forms of government.
“We’re all human” is a righteous and moral message. “We’re all alike” is apt to run you aground, both abroad and at home.
Meanwhile, take note of the bare-chested flexer on that submarine. We’ll see where this goes.
And as long as we’re addressing serious issues in the funny pages, here’s our
Juxtaposition of the Day
Macanudo reminds me of when Bill Watterson would start off a Sunday Calvin and Hobbes with comic realism and descend to cartoony bathos in the final panel, but this time, the humorous aspect is offered in a righteous cause.
The major example of imperialist theft is the Elgin Marbles, taken from Greece by a British adventurer who claimed permission from the Ottoman government against whom the Greeks were rebelling. As noted in Wikipedia, UNESCO has attempted to persuade the British Museum to honor the Greek request for return, but the museum explained “F*** you.”
Or words to that effect.
RWO offers a more moderate perspective, and I’d accept pilferage of garbage dumps as fair game, bearing in mind that people do not bury their loved ones in garbage dumps.
And bearing in mind that mockery of the conqueror’s remains is fair game.